Socialist Worker

Socialist Worker


Issue: 2101

Dated: 17 May 2008




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March to stop the BNP

The fascist British National Party (BNP) made an electoral breakthrough on 1 May when it won a seat on the London assembly and made a net gain of ten more council seats across England.


International Comment Features Reviews What We Think Other

News

Shelter strike is crucial battle for the voluntary sector

Unite union stewards at the housing charity Shelter were set to meet on Thursday of this week to discuss whether to take further strike action and to plan the next stage of their campaign.

More action needed in civil service

The PCS civil service workers’ union conference next week will see a major discussion of the fight against the government’s pay limits.

Local government set to ballot for strikes

The growing campaign against Gordon Brown’s war on public sector workers took an important step forward this week after local government workers rejected their employers’ pay offer and moved to ballot for strike action.

Palestine solidarity demonstration

Striking against academies

It is now official. Any proposal by an employer to transfer staff to a new employer can be the subject of a trade dispute and strike action.

Lebanon: US allies in disarray as Hizbollah strikes

It was a lightning war of short battles and quick victories. Hizbollah and its supporters in Lebanon’s opposition movement have swept Western-backed militias out of Muslim and mixed areas of Lebanon.

Beat back right’s attack on abortion

Abortion rights in Britain are facing a serious attack over the next week and we have to defend them.

Lobby MPs and parliament to defend abortion rights

Build the lobby of parliament, 5.30pm, Tuesday 20 May, Old Palace Yard, opposite St Stephens Entrance to the House of Commons, London (Westminster tube)If your MP is holding a surgery this weekend organise a lobby of it to demand they attend the debate and vote to defend abortion rightsTrade unionists can insist on a pro-choice vote from union-sponsored MPsWrite or phone your MP to demand they defend a woman’s right to chooseOrganise an emergency meeting in your workplace or college to raise awareness of the vote and to build the lobbyHold Abortion Rights stalls in city centres and at workplacesLeaflet your workplace, hall of r

Trade unionists at centre of fight for abortion rights

Trade union women in Scotland are at the forefront of campaigning for a woman’s right to choose.

Why a foetus can’t feel pain

The efforts to reduce the upper limit for an abortion from 24 to 20 weeks have focused, in part, on the possibility of the foetus feeling pain after 20 weeks.

MPs say abolish SATs tests

Standard Assessment Tests (SATs) give school students a shallow education, deny them a rounded experience, put them off learning and lead to anxiety for over a million children who are forced to sit them every year.

Cost of living is soaring

Officially Britain’s rate of inflation rose to 3 percent this week. Yet the real rate of inflation for ordinary people is rising twice as fast as the official figures show.

More unions plan pay action

The concerted and united strike action against Gordon Brown’s pay limits that took place on 24 April looks set to be repeated on a larger scale in coming months after key unions moved closer to strike action.

Latest draconian policy on crime

One of New Labour’s most disgusting attempts to win ground back from the Tories is the new crime "action squad" announced last week by home secretary Jacqui Smith.

More trouble lies ahead for Labour in Scotland

Gordon Brown is not the only Labour leader in trouble. North of the border the knives are out for the head of Scottish Labour, Wendy Alexander.

New Labour lurches right towards a deeper crisis

"Soft on yobs" is how New Labour is attacking the Tory frontrunner in the Crewe & Nantwich by-election campaign.

Lobby for victimised Unison officials

Around 70 people came out to support four Unison branch officials – all members of the Socialist Party – who faced a disciplinary hearing today, Thursday, for issuing a leaflet at last year’s national Unison conference.

South African activists condemn attacks on migrant workers

‘It is a tragedy that such attacks are happening in poor working class communities, where the poor are fighting the poor. But there is a clear reason for this. Many in our communities are made to believe that unemployment is caused by foreigners who take jobs in the country – this is simply untrue.

SWP party council: Fighting on all fronts can help create an alternative

Delegates from across the country came together at a Socialist Workers Party (SWP) national meeting last Sunday to discuss the 1 May election results and the way forward for socialists.

Marxism 2008; a festival that will draw all the issues together

Hannah Dee, a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party, argued at last Sunday’s meeting that the forthcoming Marxism festival in July will be a crucial forum for the left to debate the way forward.

Barack Obama and class

Once in a while a mainstream US politician forgets the script and deviates from the self‑imposed censorship of the establishment’s club rules.

Who is voting BNP and how can we stop them?

Many people across the country will have been horrified by the advances made by the fascist British National Party (BNP) in the May local elections.

Cut low pay not jobs, says Bectu conference

The Bectu media workers’ union held its conference in Liverpool last week.

Unofficial walkout at Arriva, Liverpool

Bus drivers working for Arriva in Liverpool staged an unofficial walkout on Friday of last week in protest at new rotas and working hours.

Royal Mail canteen prices shoot up, reflecting real inflation rate

Postal workers this week got a reminder of how bosses use a different measure of inflation when negotiating wages to the one they use when setting prices.

Who produced the fake Yunus Bakhsh leaflet?

In an extraordinary twist in the ongoing attempt to victimise left wing health activist Yunus Bakhsh, a new and mysterious leaflet has been produced.

Hundreds lobby for Karen Reissmann

More than 200 health workers, trade unionists, service users and MPs packed into a room in the House of Commons last week to show their support for Karen Reissmann, the Manchester psychiatric nurse and leading union member who was sacked for speaking out against cuts and privatisation.

17,000 Network Rail staff ballot for action

Over 17,000 members of the RMT rail workers’ union at Network Rail are balloting for industrial action in two separate disputes involving maintenance and signalling and other operational staff.

Manager insults strikers at Wybone

Members of the Community union at Wybone factory in Barnsley thought their wage dispute was settled when management called a meeting on Thursday of last week.

Defend Council Housing launched in Kingston

Around 75 tenants and trade unionists attended the launch of a local Defend Council Housing (DCH) campaign in Kingston, west London last week.

Council workers strike over rubbish pay

East Dunbartonshire Council workers in East Dunbartonshire Council have taken to the picket lines in protest against the single status pay agreement.


International

US meddles in Pakistan’s affairs

The havoc wreaked by the US’s "war on terror" created further instability in Pakistan this week after Nawaz Sharif and his allies quit the country’s governing coalition on Monday.

Somalia’s puppet regime in trouble

The US-backed occupation of Somalia is finding it increasingly hard to keep control as fighting rages against the Ethiopian army and its allies in the country’s puppet government.


Comment

Charting the way ahead after 1 May elections

"Where do we go from here?" is the question being asked by tens of thousands of people on the left, in the movements and in the trade unions after the 1 May elections.

Burmese need aid, not invasion

The enormous suffering in the wake of the cyclone that hit southern Burma last week has shocked the world.

What causes flood disasters in the Global South?

Many commentators make a point of directly connecting the scale of the devastation in Burma with the specific failures of the military regime.

Ken Livingstone: the loser’s illusion that he’s a winner

Reading Ken Livingstone in the Guardian on Friday of last week, I almost convinced myself that 1 May had been a bad dream and that Boris Johnson hadn’t been elected mayor of London.


Features

Contesting the gains of 1968

Forty years ago The Frost Report was the most popular satire on British tele­vision. It featured a famous sketch about class.

Israel - created by terrorism

The state of Israel was founded 60 years ago out of a monstrous crime – the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians from their homes.

Palestine voices

‘We were used as human shields’ Sixty years after the Nakba, Palestinians are still suffering. Millions of us are still refugees – living in camps and facing malnutrition and persecution by Israelis and by the Arab regimes.

How can Palestine be free?

As Israel celebrates 60 years of statehood, another dark chapter in the history of Palestinian suffering is being written.

From Persian conquest to modern slaughter

When Alexander the Great’s army captured Persepolis, the capital of the Persian Empire, in 331 BC, the treasure seized was equivalent to 300 times the annual income of the richest city in Greece.


Reviews

May 68 - Street Posters from the Paris Rebellion

Anyone who can get to the Hayward Gallery on London’s South Bank should visit the 40th anniversary exhibition of the posters and photos of the Atelier Populaire (Popular Workshop) from the May 1968 uprising in France.

Don McPhee and the art of news photography

This famous photo from the Miners’ Strike of 1984-85 is one of many images on show at the Don McPhee: Photographer exhibition at the Guardian’s Newsroom visitor centre. McPhee died last year and the Guardian is celebrating the life and work of one of its great news photographers. The exhibition runs until 27 June at 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1, and admission is free of charge

David Ferrard interview: 'Singing for change and standing up against war'

Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter David Ferrard’s first album Broken Sky is winning rave reviews from the music press.

Broken Sky - David Ferrard

The first thing that strikes you when listening to David Ferrard is the beauty of his voice—clear and strong, tough and sweet all at the same time.

Interview with Augusto Boal, founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed

Augusto Boal is a pioneering Brazilian director and playwright who founded the Theatre of the Oppressed, a form of theatre that encourages the audience to be an active participant in the drama.


What We Think

Social care is affordable

New Labour has launched a six month consultation into the funding of social care for older and disabled people. Health secretary Alan Johnson says that over the next 20 years there will be a £6 billion funding shortfall just to maintain current care provisions.

Will offer of 'Warwick Two' get more cash for Labour?

Gordon Brown’s Labour Party is bankrupt. The millionaires who secretly lent money to Labour in the run up to the 2005 election are asking for their cash back.

Gordon Brown must act on environment evidence

Global levels of carbon dioxide have reached an all-time high and the earth may be losing its capacity to reabsorb carbon emissions, according to new research out this week.


Other Categories

Tim: Feeling secure

Letters

Competition threatens future of post service Royal Mail is in crisis yet again. In 2005-6 Royal Mail Group made profits of £355 million. It has seen these shrink to £233 million in 2006-7, and down to £162 million in 2007-8.



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